Utah Jazz: Derrick Favors to start, Butler reunion for Hayward and Stevens, Olynyk on Stockton

Published: Monday, Feb. 24 2014 2:05 p.m. MST

“Offensively he can do so much more than he can do with us,” he said. “Obviously, his game’s grown tremendously. They’ve done a great job here with him and he’s really continued to grow.”

— Stevens on returning to EnergySolutions Arena for the first time since 2010 when Hayward-led Butler beat No. 1 seed Syracuse in the Sweet 16 and No. 2 seed Kansas State in the Elite Eight to advance to the Final Four:

“When I walked in, it gave me chills because (it was) one of the greatest sporting moments that I’ve ever been a part of certainly,” Stevens said. “Even more so maybe than the next year because it was such a new experience for all of us to come in here and beat a No. 1 seed, a No. 2 seed and then go back home to a Final Four.”

Stevens recalled not even being upset by a long delay at Salt Lake International Airport.

“We were on the runway (and our) plane got delayed by about three hours getting out of here and it didn’t matter. It could have been delayed for two days and none of us would’ve cared.”

— Hayward has only shot 30 percent while averaging 11 points over the past 12 games in one of the longest slumps of his NBA career. Uncharacteristically, he hurried out of the locker room Saturday night before media had a chance to ask the team captain about the Jazz’s 121-104 loss to Minnesota.

“Yeah, a little frustrated,” Hayward said when asked about leaving early following his 2-for-10 shooting, five-point night. “I’ve been frustrated. I just got in the gym yesterday again and I’m just going to try to work my way out of it.”

Stevens was asked how Hayward handled slumps at Butler.

“He gets a chip on his shoulder and plays really well,” Stevens said. “I hope it’s not tonight.”

— Because of Sullinger’s injury, Jazz point guard Trey Burke and the Celtics' big man will have to wait for their first showdown on opposite teams. Burke was out with a broken finger when the teams played Nov. 6 in Boston. The two were teammates at the Rising Stars Challenge during All-Star Weekend.

— This is also the first return visit to ESA for Boston rookie Kelly Olynyk, whose Gonzaga squad, a No. 1 seed, was knocked out of the NCAA tournament in the second round here last March.

“When I walked in here, it looks all different because of the Jazz court. … It felt like a different building, to tell you the truth.”

— Olynyk said he’d hear Jazz stories “all the time” from David Stockton, his teammate and son of Hall of Famer John Stockton.

“It was pretty cool hearing his stories, whether they were from the Jazz, the Dream Team or All-Stars. He’s got a lot of them.” Olynyk’s favorite?

“He used to tell me that he and his brothers would be Rollerblading around the arena (then the Delta Center), down the ramp, and he crashed into a vending machine and it broke his collarbone. It’s pretty funny.”

John Stockton didn’t think so. As the legendary story goes, the Jazz point guard was not thrilled to be pulled out of practice to attend to the painful tomfoolery.

— Olynyk on having John Stockton around the program to support his sons and the Zags:

“He was around here and there. He was always willing to help if you were seeking it. I would talk to him whenever I had the chance. He’s such a wealth of knowledge. Anything you could pick his brain with is pretty special. He’s been around the game so much. He just knows the game so well, playing however many years he did here, playing how many ever All-Star games, Olympics, Dream Teams. He’s been through it all.”

— Olynyk finished with this gem of a description about Stockton: “He’s just like a big pool of knowledge and hopefully you get a chance to dive into it.”

EMAIL: jody@desnews.com


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